NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2020

Check out recent goaltending speculation involving the Penguins and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

AVALANCHE INTERESTED IN MURRAY?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford received calls about his goaltenders before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. While Rutherford had no intention of moving Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry at that time, the conversations were aimed at doing a deal at or before the 2020 NHL Draft.

Were the Colorado Avalanche interested in Matt Murray at the trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kingerski cited multiple sources claiming Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic had expressed interest, with his likely target being Murray. While the 25-year-old netminder struggled earlier in the season, his performance improved during the second half of the schedule. Kingerski pointed out Avalanche starter Philipp Grubauer had an 18-12-4 record and an “acceptable” .916 save percentage, prompting Sakic to seek a change between the pipes.

While the two sides talked, Kingerski said they weren’t close to a deal. He also indicated a lot could happen to change things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL schedule resumes in some form in July, the Penguins and the Avalanche will use that period to further evaluate their goaltending before deciding if changes are required. Murray to the Avalanche would mean shipping out Grubauer or the recently re-signed Pavel Francouz to make room.

If Murray carries the Penguins on another deep playoff run, Jarry could be the one hitting the trade block. Then again, Rutherford could free up salary elsewhere from his roster to re-sign Murray and Jarry. 

LATEST ON THE FLYERS’ BACKUP GOALTENDING

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: In a recent mailbag segment, Sam Carchidi was asked who might replace Brian Elliott if the Philadelphia Flyers backup departs via free agency at season’s end. He expects Elliott will re-sign, pointing out he’s been a good mentor to young starter Carter Hart. 

If Elliott does depart, Carchidi observed Corey Crawford, Thomas Greiss, and Cam Talbot are among the free-agent possibilities, but their salary demands will be key. Dallas’ Anton Khudobin would be a terrific backup, but probably too expensive. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott could be back on a one-year, bonus-laden deal. Crawford and Talbot likely still see themselves as starting goalies, so I doubt they’re a fit for the Flyers. Talbot also had a short, unmemorable stint with the Flyers last season and probably doesn’t want to repeat that experience. Greiss and Khudobin would be better options, but they’ll cost more than Elliott. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2020

The latest on the league’s 2020 Draft proposal, Oilers and Canucks among clubs looking to host neutral-site games plus updates on Sidney Crosby, Philipp Grubauer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL DRAFT UPDATE

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun took to Twitter yesterday reporting a good discussion on Monday’s NHL Board of Governors’ conference call over staging the 2020 draft in June before the resumption of the schedule. A decision is expected later this week or sometime next week. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, “We think it’s more important to get the right decision than to get a quick decision.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (Photo via NHL.com).

In his column for The Athletic (subscription required), LeBrun reported holding the draft in June doesn’t require approval from the board of governors. Teams will also seek more clarification regarding the trades involving conditional picks in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL may claim it wants to take some time to make the right decision, but most pundits seem to feel this is a fait accompli. It appears league headquarters wants to stage the draft in June to drum up excitement among hockey fans for the potential resumption fo the season in July or August.

TSN: Travis Yost points out the potential revisions to this year’s draft lottery would give the Detroit Red Wings a 57 percent cumulative probability of winning the first-overall selection. Bob McKenzie reports the lottery rules will revert to the system last used in 2012, where only one of the bottom-five clubs has a chance of winning that pick. Those teams include the Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks. The Senators hold the Sharks’ pick. Teams outside that group can still win the lottery, but would only move up four spots in the order.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reviewed every NHL trade involving conditional picks in this year’s draft, ranking them from the easiest to resolve to the most difficult. Those in the latter category include the conditional third-rounder the Edmonton Oilers packaged with Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames for James Neal, and the conditional fourth the New Jersey Devils received from the Carolina Hurricanes in the Sami Vatanen deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sorting out the conditional picks will be a challenge. Under the league’s proposal, it would give the teams involved the option of sorting it out among themselves or the league will do it for them.

TEAMS SUBMITTING BIDS TO HOST NEUTRAL-SITE GAMES

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre Lebrun reports between 11 and 14 teams submitted bids to be among the four hub cities for the resumption of the season. This format isn’t the only option but is considered the leading one. He also indicated a few league governors favor delaying resumption as long as possible, perhaps a September-October playoff, when it might be possible for the 16 playoff clubs to host games in their own arenas.

THE SCORE: The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are reportedly among the teams to submit bids to be a host city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the NHL Players Association have yet to decide on the format for restarting the schedule or when the schedule could resume. It’s believed the league is targeting early June to open training camps for their 31 clubs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby donated 100,000 meals to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. That’s the equivalent of 120,000 pounds of food.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer said he was just days away from returning from a lower-body injury when the schedule was paused. He added he’s been cycling 100 miles per day in the Denver area.

ESPN.COM: Over 65 percent of sports fans surveyed favor sports returning to action without fans in the stands. That number rises to 76 percent when asked if they support a return without fans in the stands if players were kept in hotels and their contact with others was closely monitored.

The New Jersey Devils are giving their fans options for a full refund of their remaining tickets for this season to ticket donations for front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

Avalanche lose Mikko Rantanen to injury, Canadiens’ Shea Weber close to returning to action, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning won a franchise-record 11th straight game with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nikita Kucherov tallied the winner in overtime as the Bolts (85 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for first overall in the league standings. It was a costly defeat for the Avs, as winger Mikko Rantanen suffered an upper-body injury (shoulder) that could sideline him for weeks. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed goaltender Philipp Grubauer remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen could miss weeks with a shoulder injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing sparking speculation over what moves the Avs will make to bolster their injury-depleted roster. I’ll have more details this morning in the Rumors section.

Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane tallied his first career NHL hat trick to down the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. With the win, the Flames (68 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Pacific Division. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Arizona Coyotes (68 points) hold the second Western Conference wild-card spot after edging the New York Islanders 2-1. Conor Garland tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Coyotes. Andy Greene collected an assist in his first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Islanders have dropped three straight games.

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 25 shots in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights (70 points) move into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division, but the Oilers hold two games in hand. The Capitals (79 points) cling to a one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the fifth straight game and remains stuck at 698 career goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and Aaron Ekblad collected two assists to give the Florida Panthers a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Panthers (68 points) move within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. Following the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon got emotional when asked if he thought that was his last home game with the Sharks. Dillon is a free agent this summer and considered a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans and pundits love to bandy about the names of possible trade candidates. We shouldn’t forget that these are human beings. While the players acknowledge getting traded is part of the business of hockey, it can still be difficult facing the prospect of leaving a team.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and former LA Kings winger Tyler Toffoli (now with the Vancouver Canucks) are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 16.

THE SCORE: Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined three weeks with a rib injury, while winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) is done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news explains why the Canucks acquired Toffoli from the Kings last night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber has returned to practice with his teammates and could play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Weber had suffered an ankle injury that supposedly had him sidelined for six weeks amid speculation it was career-threatening.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have suspended defenseman Zach Bogosian for failing to report to their AHL affiliate after he recently cleared waivers. The suspension removes Bogosian’s $5.14 million salary-cap hit from the Sabres’ books, providing them flexibility as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. The club could negotiate a mutual contract termination with Bogosian.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2020

The Kings upset the Avalanche in their Stadium Series matchup, Evander Kane blasts the NHL department of player safety, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick power the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche as part of the 2020 NHL Stadium Series before a sellout crowd of 43,574 at Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy. Toffoli becomes the first player in league history to tally three goals in an NHL outdoor game. Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. With the loss, the Avalanche (72 points) slipped to third place in the Central Division.

Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick gave the LA Kings a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in their 2020 NHL Stadium Series game (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Long rumored on the trade block, Toffoli’s hat trick performance could boster his value leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

The Boston Bruins picked up their eighth win in their last nine games by beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. David Pastrnak tallied his 42nd goal of the season while Brad Marchand collected two assists for the Bruins (84 points). They remain one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 21 games in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman each collected two points as the Lightning stretched their winning streak to 10 games. The Flyers hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 71 points.

Auston Matthews tallied his 42nd of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. The Leafs (70 points) hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division. Matthews and Pastrnak are tied for first place in the NHL goal-scoring race.

Mikael Granlund’s third-period goal held up as the game-winner as the Nashville Predators edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Kyle Turris had a goal and two assists as the Predators (63 points) remain three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. The Blues (74 points) have dropped four straight and hold a one-point lead over the surging Dallas Stars for the top spot in the Conference.

Tyler Seguin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Dallas Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Habs head coach Claude Julien voiced his displeasure over the poor officiating during a post-game interview, which could earn him disciplinary action from the league. The Canadiens (62 points) have dropped four straight and sit eight points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto scored and set up two others in a 4-1 win over the slumping Florida Panthers. Leon Drasaitl (92 points) picked up two points to extend his lead in the scoring race by 10 over the Bruins’ David Pastrnak. The Oilers (68 points) are one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks.

Mark Andre Fleury posted a 19-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Reilly Smith was the goal-scorer as the Golden Knights (68 points) hold third place in the Pacific Division. With 72 points, the Isles cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Antti Raanta picked up the victory with 36 saves for the Coyotes (66 points), who hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin failed to score for the fourth straight game, leaving him two goals shy of 700 for his career.

The Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Calgary Flames 8-4. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews lead the way with each collecting a goal and two assists. Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett each scored twice for the Flames (66 points), who hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks (60 points) picked up their first win in six games, but remain six points behind the Flames and Coyotes.

San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones kicked out 39 shots to shut out the Minnesota Wild 2-0. Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlsson were the goal scorers. It was the Wild’s first game under interim coach Dean Evason. With 61 points, they’re five behind the Coyotes.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: Thousands of fans missed a portion of the Kings-Avalanche Stadium Series game owing to a major traffic jam. Many left before the game’s conclusion. It took some fans over four hours to reach the stadium.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will host a 2021 NHL Stadium Series game at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane blasted the NHL’s department of player safety over its inconsistencies in handing down supplemental discipline after receiving a three-game suspension for elbowing. Kane released a public statement singling out player safety head George Parros. He also cited examples where similar infractions by others went unpunished or received lighter penalties.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s critics will accuse him of whining, but he’s making a fair point. The department of player safety’s sometimes erratic decisions has left more than a few fans and pundits puzzled and sometimes outraged. It’s also believed many players share Kane’s views, though he’s the first to publicly criticize the department in this manner.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Sharks, their crappy season got worse as defenseman Erik Karlsson is out for the season with a broken thumb.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Brian Little is also finished for the season because of a damaged eardrum he suffered in November. He’ll undergo surgery with an expected three-month recovery period.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian was assigned to his club’s AHL affiliate in Rochester after clearing waivers yesterday.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks re-sign forward Nicolas Deslauriers to a two-year, $2-million contract extension.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2019

Sebastian Aho has a five-point game, Sergei Bobrovsky picks up his first win over his former club, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho had a five-point game (including a hat trick) to lead his club over the Minnesota Wild 6-2, snapping the latter’s 11-game points streak. Teuvo Teravainen collected three assists for the Hurricanes, who hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho’s five-point performance powered his club to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was Bobrovsky’s first game against his former club since signing with the Panthers last summer. Mike Hoffman, Aleksander Barkov, and Keith Yandle each had two points. With the win, the Panthers move into second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Predators spoiled P.K. Subban’s return to Nashville by defeating his New Jersey Devils 6-4. Subban, who was dealt to the Devils last summer, finished the game without a point and a plus-minus of minus-3. Nick Bonino, Rocco Grimaldi, and Dante Fabbro each had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Devils.

The Colorado Avalanche picked up their sixth straight win by downing the Boston Bruins 4-1, snapping the latter’s points streak at 13 games. It was a costly victory for the Avs as defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Philipp Grubauer left the game with injuries. Updates on their conditions won’t be revealed until Monday or Tuesday.

Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson each tallied two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning crushed the San Jose Sharks 7-1. Alex Killorn had four points while Victor Hedman had three. Sharks goalie Martin Jones was pulled after giving up four goals on 21 shots.

Scott Laughton’s tie-breaking goal held up as the winner as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Senators winger Brady Tkachuk was fined over $2,400.00 for cross-checking Laughton, who threw a big hit on Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who subsequently dropped the gloves with Joel Farabee. Flyers winger Jakub Voracek fought Nick Paul after Travis Konecny left the game following a big hit by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. Anthony Duclair scored twice for the Senators, who lost goaltender Craig Anderson to a lower-body injury in the first period.

The Vancouver Canucks blew a 5-3 lead but defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-5 on an overtime goal by J.T. Miller. Josh Leivo and Antoine Roussel each tallied twice for the Canucks, who wore their vintage “Flying Skate” jerseys in this contest. Jack Eichel, Rasmus Risolainen, and Sam Reinhart each collected two points for the Sabres, who move into third in the Atlantic Division.

A four-goal first period powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman each scored two goals as the Leafs chased Blues goalie Jordan Binnington after he gave up four goals on 11 shots.

Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri both had two points for the Wings, who are winless in 11 contests.

Ben Bishop kicked out 34 shots backstopping the Dallas Stars over the New York Islanders 3-1. Alex Radulov, a healthy scratch in the Stars’ previous game, tallied a goal and an assist.

Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube each had a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames held off the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. The Flames are 5-0-1 in their last six games while the Kings’ winless skid on the road is now at 11 games. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2019

Marc-Andre Fleury picks up his 450th career win, the Islanders tie a franchise-record points streak, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 450th career win backstopping his club over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Fleury made a spectacular glove save on the Leafs’ Nic Petan in the third period. He sits just three wins behind New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist for sixth on the all-time list. The Leafs are winless in their last six games.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 450th career victory in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

The New York Islanders tied a franchise record as their point streak reached 15 games in a 5-4 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Isles overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame. Brock Nelson scored twice, including the game-winning goal. Earlier in the day, the Penguins revealed center Nick Bjugstad will be sidelined longer than expected with an undisclosed ailment. Bjugstad was hurt during Friday’s loss to New Jersey.

Connor McDavid had his third-straight multi-point game as his Edmonton Oilers beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. McDavid scored and set up two others while Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games.

The Colorado Avalanche held off the Calgary Flames 3-2, leaving the latter winless in their last five. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 30 saves in his first game since a five-game absence with a lower-body injury. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Flames revealed Sam Bennett is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. They also played without defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 35 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov, and Brett Connolly each collected two points for the Panthers, who picked up their fourth win in their last five games.

The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to five games by downing the New Jersey Devils 5-1. David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk each scored twice for the Bruins, who were playing without center Patrice Bergeron (lower-body injury) for the second straight game. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider cleared waivers earlier in the day and was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice and set up another to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. The Jackets broke the game open with three third-period goals.

The St. Louis Blues snapped a three-game winless skid by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period following a hit from Brayden Schenn and didn’t return.

Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 38 shots as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Nashville Predators 2-1. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers were the goal scorers for the Jets as teammate Mathieu Perreault played in his 600th career NHL game. The Predators raised eyebrows by making Kyle Turris a healthy scratch.

The Carolina Hurricanes collected their fourth straight victory by doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Petr Mrazek made 30 saves while Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.

Jamie Benn scored twice to lead the Dallas Stars over the Vancouver Canucks 6-1. Tyler Seguin, Corey Perry, and Miro Heiskanen each collected two points for the Stars, who’ve won four straight.

Zach Parise scored twice to lead the Minnesota Wild over the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Alex Stalock made 30 saves for the Wild. The Sabres have just one win in their last nine contests.

Anthony Duclair tallied two goals and added an assist as the Ottawa Senators edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Senators goalie Anders Nilsson made 35 stops.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway will have a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player discipline for spitting at Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

CBS SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings placed Mario Kempe on unconditional waivers.

TSN: The NHL has renamed the NHL General Manager of the Year Award to the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. Gregory spent 10 seasons as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM and another 40 years as an NHL executive. He recently passed away at age 83.